By GERARDO RECINOS
On the quest to find their second Diablo Foothill Athletic League win, the Alhambra girls are also looking to stop a four game skid that sees them 2-9 in their last 11 games.
Jason Bautista’s team was always going to have a tough time dealing with the defending North Coast Section champions, so in the end the 68-39 loss isn’t as debilitating as it could’ve been.
Sure the Gaels are without departed seniors Milan Moses, Jojuan Carrington and Julyana Amante, but they still have a solid core of returning players that have played together much longer than Alhambra’s core.
Alhambra could only muster three points in the opening quarter of play. Similar to their male counterparts, the varsity girls also found themselves with trouble turning the ball over.
That and Dublin’s Alana Yee (an All-League performer in 2015) and Leslie Finau both hitting three-pointers in the opening minutes (Finau had two) led the Gaels to a breezy 11-0 run to open the game.
Cara DiMercurio pulled back two points for Alhambra’s only shot from the field in the first quarter.
The second quarter started off even worse.
Dublin shot the ball well from the floor, and basically hit every jumper they took. Quite the opposite from the Bulldogs. Only three field goals from senior Aly Najera allowed the Bulldogs to surpass the 10-point margin in the first half.
Dublin on the other hand was able to propel their lead to 39-11 due in part to junior Tiaja Andrews’ hot start. The junior power forward scored 11 points to go with Yee’s eight points to easily eclipse the Bulldog scoring total.
Alhambra turned it around in the third quarter in a big way, even though by that point it was much too late.
The Bulldogs outscored the Gaels for the first and only time all night with a 16-15 quarter lead by juniors Karissa Wiebalk and Saelym Schmidt.
Schmidt hit Alhambra’s first shot from behind the arc in the third quarter, while Wiebalk took advantage of her size advantage down low. Wiebalk had six points in the third quarter alone while Schmidt had five to push a momentary comeback.
While a competitive second-half could be attributed to a weaker lineup in the game from Dublin, Bautista said it came down to a desire to compete from his girls.
This performance coming off of their first league win, and one of the more competitive games of the season against Las Lomas, as well as a week off from league play could be the turning point for Alhambra.
At this point the playoffs are out of reach, and the league title was awarded to Miramonte unofficially before the season even started, but competitive basketball is something Bautista still expects from the team, and the team still expects from itself.
While the Bulldogs were outscored in the fourth quarter, their offensive output clearly eclipsed any effort from the first half.
That effort won’t count for wins down the stretch, but in the coach’s eyes it will surely count for a lot.